Midwestern University students are the future
In just the last century, developments in health care have produced vaccinations against smallpox, polio, measles, rubella, tetanus, and other infectious diseases in the United States and other parts of the world. In just the last 40 years, the death rate for coronary heart disease has decreased 51percent.
What will health care look like in the future, based on its ever-changing Petri dish? Midwestern University, with campuses in Glendale, Ariz., and Downers Grove, Ill., is preparing its students to be that future.
“One of the most important things we do for our students is help them understand that health care is always changing; just as there is new technology, there are new opportunities for people to have different cures and different care,” says Dr. Kathleen H. Goeppinger (right), president and CEO of the private, not-for-profit health care university. “We focus very much on having our people very accustomed to knowing there is change and that with that change there are new technologies and new ways to really be able to look at the person and their health.”
Goeppinger, known to associates and around campus as “Dr. G.,” has a 25-year history with the university. She served on its board of trustees from 1985-95 before being named president and CEO in 1995. She has been responsible for significant growth at Midwestern, including the opening of the 143-acre Glendale campus, just 15 minutes from downtown Phoenix, in 1996.
“On the other hand, the most important thing that never changes in health care is the ability of someone to understand that they are always dealing with a special person, a family, and their ability to really heal is very ‘total-picture’ of how they are going to meet the challenges of the future and the challenges of their individual patient.”
Founded in 1900, Midwestern currently has more than 8,000 alumni practicing in health care fields around the country and throughout the world. More than 2,000 post-graduate students are enrolled at each of the campuses. The university boasts two colleges of osteopathic medicine, two colleges of dental medicine, two colleges of pharmacy, a college of health sciences and a college of optometry. Plans are in the works for a Glendale campus-based college of veterinary medicine — the first of its kind in Arizona — next year.
And while future developments in health care require an ever-watchful eye, if not a crystal ball, Goeppinger has her Midwestern eye on a bricks-and-mortar challenge that will be another defining step in the university’s own progression.
“I think our greatest challenge, which is also our greatest opportunity in the next couple of years, is to start our new college of veterinary medicine,” says Goeppinger. “It is very much like any other health care profession; it’s a four-year degree, but it is a little different in that it is something our university hasn’t done before.
– Written by Sandy Des Georges